How to get a motorcycle license

As with most permits and licenses, how you get a license to ride a motorcycle will vary depending on what state you're residing in within the U.S. However, there are a number of constant factors that remain the same, no matter what state you're applying for a license in, so take a look at this guide before deciding whether or not you really want that bike you've been looking at.

Get a permit

One of the things that will vary across different states is the age at which you're allowed to get a permit. Yet, the process will remain the same: First, you need a Class M permit in your state, then, once you reach the legal age or have made use of the permit for the mandated amount of time, you can test for your Class M license, which will allow you to legally ride your motorcycle. 

To actually obtain a Class M permit, you'll likely need to pass a written test, as well. So, obtain the motorcyclist handbook offered by your state's motor vehicle agency and – much as you would study a driving manual before testing for your license – study it intently beforehand.

Fill out a license application and pay whatever fees are necessary

Passing an exam and earning a license to drive your vehicle – whether it's a motorcycle, an automobile, or something else entirely – is never as easy as just showing up. Before you even take the test, you'll need to visit your state's motor vehicle agency. You'll need to pay mandatory application fees, for one thing, and you'll also likely need to fill out a number of different documents for the sake of applying for the license you'll be tested for at a later date. However, all this paperwork and all those fees will be well worth it if they get you onto the road.

Ensure that your motorcycle is road-ready

You won't be able to test for your permit if you're motorcycle isn't street-legal and ready to go on the road. So before you wheel over to the DMV on test day, make sure that your bike is ready for the streets: it's going to need insurance, license plates, registration, and all other related documents. So, be sure to take a look at online insurance quotes well before you test for your license, and ensure that all your other legal documents regarding the motorcycle are in order, too.

Pass your test!

If you're a minor, there may be additional processes you need to complete in-between obtaining your permit and your license. For instance, in Massachusetts, minors need to complete 30 hours of classroom training and 40 hours of supervised driving before you're allowed to apply for your license.

If you're of age, however, as soon as you complete the aforementioned necessities, you'll be ready to test for your motorcycle license. If you pass that test, you'll be good to go: once you have your class M license, you can zoom around on your bike to your heart's content.